Wednesday, March 20, 2013

"Night" by Elie Wiesel - A Book Review

Gripping. Terrifying. Tragic. A Must-Read!

Last week I read Night by Nobel Peace Prize Winner, Elie Wiesel. The book is a powerful first-hand account of the Holocaust. It was difficult to read, and yet difficult to put down.

In surviving the concentration camps and having the courage to share his story Wiesel has helped to keep the horror of the Holocaust necessarily before future generations. Necessary because, as George Santayana famously said, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it"

I leave you to ponder some quotes from Wiesel's Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech in 1986 (which is included at the end of the book):

"If we forget, we are guilty, we are accomplices .... We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormentor. Sometimes we must interfere. When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant. Whenever men and women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views that place must - at that moment - become the center of the universe."

"Violence is not the answer."

"One person - a Raoul Wallenberg, an Albert Schweitzer, a Martin Luther King, Jr. - one person of integrity can make a difference, a difference of life and death. As long as one dissident is in prison, our freedom will not be true. As long as one child is hungry, our life will be filled with anguish and shame. What all these victims need above all is to know that they are not alone; that we are not forgetting them, that when their voices are stifled we shall lend them ours, that while their freedom depends on ours, the quality of our freedom depends on theirs."

"We know that every movement is a movement of grace, every hour an offering; not to share them would mean to betray them."

"Our lives no longer belong to us along; they belong to all those who need us desperately."

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